Cold winter kills 50 pct of kingfishers in Netherlands

18th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

About half of the small rare bright blue birds may have died because they were unable to find food in the frozen waters, says a bird research foundation.

THE NETHERLANDS – The prolonged period of frosty weather this winter dealt a heavy blow to the kingfisher population.

Figures published by bird research foundation SOVON show about 50 percent of the small bright blue birds succumbed to the cold and the lack of food.

Last year 300 of the rare birds were counted, but this year there was only 150 spotted.

Kingfishers are dependent on open water for food. They feed on small fish and water insects. They were unable to catch much food this winter as the waters were frozen due to low temperatures.

According to SOVON, it usually takes years for the population to recover to its former size. The bird foundation will have to wait until after the August breeding season before it can conclude with certainty how the kingfishers are doing.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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